Digitalisation in machinery-building is expected to enhance productivity and drive the digital transformation of other industries. The extant literature sparsely describes pathways of different sectors in digitalisation, considering the heterogeneous characteristics of firms and sectors. Emerging economies with important state participation represent a particular interest in this area of research. To this end, a multiple case study method was used to describe a set of determinants revealed from the literature on Russian technological development and innovation in manufacturing. Two different patterns were identified. The first one was typical for large leading firms with state participation, which have a global market presence and a substantial level of interoperability, currently turning into a service business model. Private firms that follow the second pattern focus on physical and digital infrastructure upgrading targeted at particular issues to secure connectivity across departments. The state participation does not have a decisive role in digitalisation decisions; however, it affects the participation of companies in national digital initiatives. This study is a preliminary analysis of the determinants associated with corporate digitalisation from the sectoral perspective. Since both national and corporate strategies are ongoing, it seems premature to make generalised conclusions. Instead, the paper provides useful insights for management and policy that refer to digital technology uptake by machinery-building industries.